I'm No June Cleaver: Confessions of an Imperfect Mom
I'm not June Cleaver.
Not even close.
I feel like when you tell people that you are a stay-at-home mom or even a work-at-home mom, they get a mental picture of a perfectly decorated house with the smell of cookies baking in the oven while your kids play [nicely] outside with Fido.
Sure, I dream of waking up early each morning to get make homemade cinnamon buns for breakfast and to set the table, drink my first cup of coffee in peace and quiet, and get a whole day's worth of work done before the little on wakes up. I have dreams of getting dressed (in something other than flannel or french terry), getting to wear a full face of makeup, and looking like the perfect Instagram Mom.
But let's be honest. I wake up to hearing, "MOMMMMMMMY" being yelled from her bedroom and I barely have time to throw on sweatpants and toss my 2-day old hair in a messy bun before the yells escalate to frantic hollers. We have cereal for breakfast. I usually heat up the same cup of coffee 3 times before it's finally gone. And I rely on Disney Jr. for morning entertainment.
Usually by 10am, we've played outside, colored, fought through 1 or 2 tantrums (no, you can't have chocolate for breakfast... no, please don't chase the cat) and Caroline's running around half-dressed like a wild woman. We've read countless books, played a Daniel Tiger game on her tablet, and she's made a thousand messes. My vision for a perfect morning flashes before my eyes.
But it's perfect. Not Hollywood-June-Cleaver perfect. But real life, loud, crazy, messy perfect.
1. My hobbies don't include gardening or knitting.
When I know I'm having visitors, I spend the 30 minutes before their arrival throwing toys in overflowing bins and finding creative places to hide clutter and throw on a dress that I think is clean.
My visitors won't find me icing a perfectly baked cake or basting a roast wearing a floral apron.
2. Our house is very much so lived in.
Our throw pillows are never meticulously arranged on the couch. The only shelves that look decent are the ones that Caroline is too short to reach. Our fridge is covered in party invitations, finger paintings, and random magnets. We have toys e v e r y w h e r e. The floors are questionably sticky and there's usually a whole animal's worth of cat hair on the floor by the end of each day.
Even when the house is clean, it still gets lived in. How mom's keep their homes looking like something out of Southern Living boggles my mind. (Or, the other side of the room that isn't pictured is a total disaster and we don't see that part)
3. I don't cook dinner every night.
I love to cook. And I'm married to a chef, so you would think that we are constantly whipping up creative meals. No way! Sometimes we just don't have time to cook at home with our busy schedules, and sometimes, I'm just too worn out from chasing a toddler around to stand in the kitchen for 45 minutes while I cook something. We're no stranger to McDonalds. My kid can order her own happy meal (I'm not proud of that). Or sometimes we have PB&J for lunch AND dinner.
When we do cook, it's a lot of casseroles, 1-pan meals, or thank goodness for summertime, and we grill. And I always make sure there's enough for leftovers so I can ensure an easy dinner the next night.
4. We practically live at Target.
I don't know how some moms can run errands once a week and be done for the next 7 days. We go to Target so much that Caroline has exclaimed "I'm Home!" more than once as we walk through the doors and into the Dollar Section. If it's not more diapers that we need, it's more sunscreen or soap or mouthwash or granola bars. I just can't get it together to know what I need a whole week ahead of time.
5. Laundry. HA!
Laundry is my biggest enemy. Before hubs and I were living together and long before Caroline, I could do laundry once a month. I have that many clothes. Not anymore. There are 3 of us living in our house and you would think I have a family of 7 for all the dirty clothes we accumulate. Every time I think I'm ahead of the curve, I turn around to see 2 more hampers overflowing. I aim to do one load a day. Sometimes two if I'm feeling ambitious. But by the time I start a load, we get busy and I forget all about it (despite the alarm I set on my phone as a reminder). And then I have to fold it and put it away. I do sort out my laundry by colors and keep our nice clothes separate from underwear and Brian's work clothes. So I have the right idea... it's just executing it that's hard.
In the long run, all of those things won't matter. My 2-year-old won't remember if wore sweatpants and slippers. She won't remember if our house wasn't immaculately clean.
What she will remember is all the fun we had. The endless games of hide-and-seek. The countless hours playing with her dollhouse. All the stories we read before bed. All the fun we had making crafts and gifts for family members. All the time we spent building memories, not all the time I spent cleaning and making sure she didn't make a mess or leave a juice cup on the coffee table.
It's not that our house is a total pigsty. I do straighten and clean after she goes to bed, just so we can start with a clean slate in the morning, but by no means am I a perfect mom or perfect homemaker.
But I am learning to love the imperfect and have a positive perspective on every aspect of motherhood as opposed to getting frazzled, annoyed, and impatient. Keeping the bigger picture in mind helps me get out of my own way and focus on there here and now.